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Jul 03, 2007

Is it possible to bring technology and spirituality together?

An excerpt from a paper by Mohammed Reza Rikhtegaran about the relationship between Technology, Man and Spirituality:

Is it possible to bring technology and spirituality together? Usually technology is referred to as an instrument of mass production related to profit and loss. But is technology merely an instrument? Regarding technology as mere instrument is correct but it keeps us from understanding the essence of technology and its relation with truth.

Unconcealedness and concealedness of Being are always together, and every stage of unconcealedness is related to its corresponding concealedness. The Greeks call this unconcealedness Aletheia, that is, Truth.1 It is quite strange that contemplation about the essence of technology brings us to considering and understanding the unconcealedness and concealedness of the truth. In other words the essence of technology is nothing technical, just as the essence of a tree is not itself a tree which can be seen among other trees.

The truth or essence of technology, is the disposing and dispossession of raw material for consumption through which mastery over the universe is achieved. In other words in the realm of technology, man is confronted with a sort of unconcealedness, based on which he uses things for the mere purpose of consumption and thereafter achieving the mastery. With this dispossession the relationality of man with things goes through a transformation and things turn into fixed stock. Dispossession is the essence of technology.2

The question is, how is it possible that technology — the basis of which is Western, and, worldly and is rooted in the left (wrong) dimension of human existence and the preoccupation of which is the domination of, and mastery over the material universe, be brought under the domination of the right dimension of the human existence? How to make it spiritually oriented and Eastern, while preserving it, and thereby sanctify it? It was mentioned that technology is based on a particular unconcealedness and a special relationality with Being. In other words, technology is itself a culture and considering its etymology culture is a kind of interpretation of earth. Thus, the very issue may be put in a different way, i.e., how is it possible to bring forth a union between the culture of technology and the culture of spirituality and at the same time retain both. The crux of the problem, therefore, is as to which cultural aspect we are to transfer the culture of technology, in other words, in which culture is it to be included. It is the question of the confrontation of the two cultures. It is the confrontation between the left (wrong) dimension and the right dimension of human existence. Therefore, there emerges the well-known confrontation between the East and the West. However, the very essence of the West and its culture which is the basis of technology, is earthly, whereas the essence of the East and its culture is the renunciation of this world. If technology is to be adopted by Eastern culture and knowledge, there shall be contradiction between the two. Thus a union between the two is not possible and the desire to have technology along with Eastern spirituality is wishful thinking.


Read the full paper from the book: Interface of Cultural Identity Development (1996), Edited by BAIDYANATH SARASWATI xxi+290pp. ISBN: 81-246-0054-6, Rs 600(HB)


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